Muller excited by Sharks timely peak

2008-05-21 00:00

Springbok lock Johann Muller believes the Sharks are peaking at precisely the right moment, as they head into Saturday’s Super 14 semi-final against the Waratahs in Sydney.

Muller has been lifted by the form and passion shown by the Sharks in securing their semi-final berth with an emphatic, seven tries to three win over the Chiefs at the weekend.

“I think that kind of performance has been coming for a while now,” he told the Sharks website. “We’ve been promising, promising, promising — but never delivering, so I think it’s great for the guys to have let loose and scored seven tries.

“There was some really exciting rugby, the boys really played well and I think we have the momentum going into the semi-finals which is fantastic.”

Muller said that patience on attack and an ability to retain ball possession had been significant factors in their win against the Chiefs and would crucial against the Waratahs “ who counter-attack well and can keep the ball through 20 or 30 phases if they want to.”

He agreed that the Sharks had a point to prove after being beaten in the round robin game.

“They are a really well-coached side, they retain the ball well, and it’s going to be tough. We have had to fly over here, we have five days to prepare and we’re playing a good side, so certainly, it is going to be tough. But we perform at our best when we are under pressure.”

Muller agrees with coach Dick Muir that the Crusaders, who meet the Huricanes in the other semi-final, are vulnerable.

“Although they are a great side, they haven’t been playing well for the last few weeks and there is definitely a possibility of a home final for us if we can beat the Waratahs. And we know that will be tough.”

Muir has a number of important decisions to make. Can he risk the willing but injured centre Francois Steyn (rib cartilage) in a match of this importance and is Tongan Epi Taione, who has not played for six weeks because of a suspension, ready to suddenly start playing again at this level?

The game kicks off at 12 noon on Saturday (SA time) with the semi-final in Christchurch at 9.35 am.

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